I don’t know about you, but to me it feels like Christmas is still months away.
It seems to be dragging its feet getting here. Maybe it has something to do with an earlier than usual Thanksgiving or the warmer weather of late.
By the time you read this column, there will be 10 days left until Christmas. That’s forever to me. Tick, tock! Tick, tock – forever and ever and ever!
Ten days is still plenty of time to get that last minute gift. I buy some gifts on-line, but this year, I’m going with some local made gifts. It’s nice to be able to support local.
Anyway, I feel like a kid again this year. I can’t wait for Santa’s arrival.
I have many wonderful Christmas memories. I’ve never gone without receiving Christmas gifts or gone hungry.
Debbie and family makes sure Christmas is a special day for me and everyone.
I remember as a kid getting up on Christmas morning and waking up the family. We had some of the most magical Christmases. I always enjoyed helping Dad get the decorations out of the garage attic, decorating the Christmas tree, stringing the lights and setting up the manger scene.
At the request of my mom, Santa always placed an orange and apple in our stockings. We always had our photo taken holding them each year. Some years ago, I asked my mom about the reason for the orange and apple.
She reminded me that her family was so poor, that some years the only Christmas gifts she and her siblings got was an orange and apple. Santa was happy to oblige her request as a reminder of her tough upbringing.
One year, I was so excited about Christmas that I went to bed at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve so it would get here sooner.
As I wrestled for sleep, someone knocked on my bedroom window. I peeled back the blind to discover Santa in our driveway giving me a cheery ho, ho, ho.
I later learned that it was my dad. We had a gas lamp near the front porch of our Tulsa home and at Christmas, we placed an extra-large plastic Santa face decoration on it. The light from the lamp illuminated Santa. My dad had taken the plastic Santa face off one side of the gas lamp and held it in front of his face that night, teasing me. I’m sure he had enjoyed every minute of it.
By 2 a.m., I’d had enough sleep, so I got everyone up and we opened gifts in the middle of night and then went back to bed.
I always set out a cookie and glass of milk for Santa on Christmas Eve and it was always gone on Christmas morning.
When I was 7, I got an Allstate train set from Sears and Roebuck. Santa brought it to me. And I received a Creepy Crawler set, too.
For those who don’t remember or know, the Creepy Crawler set was a toy made by Mattel starting in 1964 that consisted of a series of die-case metal molds resembling various bug-like creatures. I’d pour a liquid chemical substance called “Plastic-Goop,” which came in assorted colors, to make the creatures in a heated burner. I tried fishing with them one year, but I had no luck.
I sold the Creepy Crawler set at my parent’s estate auction, but I still have the train set complete in the box. It doesn’t work anymore. A few years ago, I was a hobby shop in Des Moines. I was talking to the fellow at the counter and he said to bring it in and he’d take a look at it. I think it needs a new transformer. Maybe this year I will dig it out and have it checked out.
Most years, after we opened Christmas gifts at the Parker house, it was off to spend the day with my grandparents on my mom’s side.
My grandma could put together a holiday feast for 20 or more in half the time most could cook a microwave meal. There was always enough food for an army.
She had plenty of practice from cooking in schools and care centers in Missouri and Oklahoma for years. She and my grandpa also worked on the riverboats in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio rivers. She cooked the crew’s meals and grandpa did laundry, helped in the kitchen and kept the ship in tip top shape.
On occasion, we visited my great-grandma on my dad’s side at Christmastime. His mother and father were both passed before I was born, so his grandmother was the family connection.
Great-grandmother Minnie didn’t care too much for a tree. One year, we arrived at her house in Bartlesville, Okla. on Christmas Eve. Mom and I took her to a tree lot and bought a tree for $5. She put it up in the living room and decorated it that evening.
The next morning, we got up, opened the gifts and my great-grandmother properly took the tree down and tossed it into the backyard for the birds to land on. We then ate breakfast.
I hope you have a blessed Christmas and I encourage you to keep those memories alive. You might even try writing them down for future generations.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day.